The New "Curb Appeal" – And We’re Talking Cars!

There is starting to be a new meaning to the phrase “curb appeal.” Traditionally, when you hear that phrase, you think of home improvement shows and real estate, but it’s starting to mean something totally new for the automotive industry.

The idea behind curb appeal started when real estate professionals began creating a “best practices” approach to selling homes. One thing they immediately noticed was that homes with a nice exterior always attract more potential buyers, so they began telling home owners to make small investments in the landscaping and exterior of the home to increase its value, and to get that all-important good first impression. If the first impression is a positive one, then the whole experience of viewing the home tends to be favorable.

It didn’t take long for this phenomenon to catch on in other areas too. Take for instance the automotive industry. Scion was the first to adapt this new approach to selling cars by creating a full line of add-on accessories to ramp up the appeal to a younger, more mobile demographic. As it turns out, that once minority demographic is turning into a fast growing majority, and suddenly automotive personalization is in huge demand. Scion figured out that by adding things to separate their cars from the run-of-the-mill variety, they would attract a new audience, and inevitably, success followed.

In 2009, we have seen a major upheaval in the automotive industry, with new car sales plummeting, GM on the verge of bankruptcy, and Chrysler selling out to Fiat. There are a lot of things that are going to take time to sort out in the new car markets, and this has given rise to a new type of consumer; one who will put off buying a new car and start re-investing in a current vehicle. This means that used car sales will increase and car owners will start ramping up the “curb appeal” of their cars to increase their value and help them sell quicker. Or, they re-invest in their vehicles to make them last longer, refresh the look and feel, or increase the performance.

This new attitude stems from a lack of consumer confidence caused by the underlying economic crisis. For many, this difficult financial time has taken the focus off of living beyond our means to look as good as possible, and put the focus on smart financial planning, reducing debt, and staying employed. Investing a few hundred dollars to prolong the life, increase the performance, and improve the vehicles appearance seems like a smarter decision when weighed against the prospect of buying a new car and taking on a lot more debt.

Even with these hopeful emerging trends, the Specialty Equipment Market Association recorded the lowest demand for aftermarket parts ever recorded for the month of April 2009. The Performance Parts and Accessories Demand Index (PADI) tracks the percentage of consumers who intend to buy aftermarket car accessories within the next three months. The index dropped to an all time low of 26% this month, down from a previous high of 81% just 14 months ago. Even so, experts believe that 26% of consumers intending to buy car accessories within the next three months in the midst of our current economic condition is still quite strong compared to what the index was estimated to be at this time.

The PADI index also showed that of all aftermarket parts sales, over 49% of the parts purchased were for general personalization and restyling, which could also be pointing to the fact that individuals are intending to stay in their cars longer. All of these indicators point to an increasing demand for aftermarket parts, performance parts, and styling accessories over the next few years. Hopefully, new car manufacturers will get on board with the new trends and start offering some new and exciting ways to ramp up their own curb appeal, giving us all something to smile about.

How to Maintain, Diagnose, and Replace Car Batteries

Batteries are designed with a specific life-span and their performance will decline after this time, requiring they be refurbished or replaced. Car batteries appear to be taking the brunt of the demands from all the impressive advances made in the car industry. Many auto accessories, aftermarket car parts, and high tech car stereos use large amounts of electricity which strains the battery.

There are steps you can take to extend the life of your battery so that it will not need to be replaced as frequently. Wash the terminals often to ensure they don’t corrode and cause problems with the electrical current. Try using pressurized water, like a hose, and a wire brush for the best results. Also, you may want to purchase a can of foam battery cleaner at your local parts store to help loosen any stuck on dirt.

Often there will be signs that the battery is beginning to wear out. Maybe the car doesn’t start right away as it once used to, or it needs a jump when sitting idle for just a few days. When you start noticing such signs, check first to make sure the cables are still secure and have not come loose from the battery. The needless shaking in car batteries may cause cells to deteriorate, which has the effect of diminishing the operating life of your battery.

If your battery is truly dead and can’t be revived, you will need to go to an auto parts store for a replacement battery. If you don’t know the battery type your car requires, there are several ways to find out. All batteries should have a “group size” number on printed on them to help with replacement. But if not, your auto parts store will have a manual where you can look up the correct battery type for your car by vehicle make and model.

If you need assistance with the installation of the battery, do not hesitate to ask an employee for help. The people that work in these stores are experts in car repairs and will be happy to assist you. However, some auto parts stores charge a fee for this service, so be sure to ask prior to the installation of your new car battery.

Car Accessory – Important, Extremely Important

One of the things that is hugely instrumental in enhancing the utility of car manifold is car accessory. Strange then, that they don’t command the importance they should be and this leads to the performance of the car being affected in a big way. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that car accessories get their due importance while one purchase a car. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that they be treated seriously. Any neglect here can lead to the value of car taking a serious beating. This can be understood by some examples.

It might appear to many that car mats are of not much importance but a closer scrutiny would reveal that they have some great utility value attached to them. For example they are essential for protecting the car from dust and water. Similarly roof boxes are also of significant importance. They play a very important role when one has to travel with lot of things specially boxes. They also prove their utility in such instances when one is going for fishing etc. The fishing rod etc. can easily be put on the car roofs. However, while talking about car accessories one must understand that the most important of all the car accessories is car stereo. The importance can simply not be overlooked.

The biggest advantage of car accessories like car stereo is that it entertains one while he is travelling. Such an effect it has that longest of the journeys are rarely felt as time flies by. It also helps one to listen to news and discussions. The value of such a car accessory, therefore, can easily be understood.

The above account should make it clear the importance of car accessories as well as the fact that they are far too important to be given a cold shoulder.

Car Accessories Can Save You Money in The Long Term

Many think of car accessories as items that are only designed to make a vehicle look good. That is not entirely true. While many accessories do in fact help a vehicle to look good, there are a number of them that help to save vehicle owners money in the long run. Those accessories can help to protect the engine, interior and exterior of a car and not only improve its performance and safety, but add years to the life of a car as well. The accessory can be something as simple as rubber car floor mats or car LED bulbs or as complex as special shock absorbers and engine or transmission treatments.

Almost everyone knows that guy who gets every car accessory as soon as they become available he is at the auto parts store buying them. What many people fail to realize is those accessories depending on which ones they are, can go a long way towards helping the vehicle last longer and perform better. There are products which lubricate engine parts and help them to last longer. There are accessories which can help the transmission. Seat covers are accessories which can help protect car seats and helps cars to remain comfortable and hold their value in terms of their appearance.

Many people might scoff at car floor mats as an accessory which can save people money in the long run. But the condition of the carpets in a car is important to its appearance and its resale value. Having car mats professionally cleaned or even replaced can cost a scandalous amount of money. With that understanding one can clearly see the real value of those extra floor mats in your vehicle to maintain their long term value. But that is not the only seemingly simple car accessory which can save people money. Car LED bulbs last longer and burn brighter than standard bulbs. Over the lifetime of a car that can add up to many bulb replacements adding to your service charges.

Bed liners are another of the accessories of which people often do not realize the true value. Bed liners placed in the bed of pick-up trucks protect the bed of the trucks from dents and scrapes. Left unprotected those dents and scrapes can lead to rust and deterioration. Repairing or replacing it costs a lot of money. Far more than the cost of the bed liner and this one of the main reasons this is an accessory which most people get as a matter of course.

While for most people car accessories are about style, in truth they can also be focused on driver safety and adding value to a vehicle. When people invest in car accessories that they are buying for purely style like alloys it can be a mistake financially but accessories which are a combination of style and substance can be a very sound investment on the resale value of your vehicle. It is a great investment which can pay dividends for years to come.